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FOM CONCERT: AVIGAIL BUSHAKOVITZ (article first published : 2004-02-27)

First of all I would like to offer warm congratulations to Dr Vera Dubin and the Friends of Music for managing to arrange such an impressive line-up of concerts for 2004.

The first concert of the series on February 24 featured the talented Bushakovitz family from George in the Southern Cape: Avigail and her brothers Ammiel and Benjamin.

First up was Benjamin, who is already an impressive guitarist. Appearing in the Prelude Performers slot funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, his mini-programme started with the Fantasie no.7 by the Renaissance English Composer, John Dowland, followed by a study by the 18th Century Spanish composer, Fernando Sor, and ending with the almost contemporary Villa Lobos’ Prelude no.1. These pieces were all impeccably executed, with good intonation and lovely tone. If the Villa Lobos lacked a modicum of drama and passion this can only be ascribed to the player’s youthfulness.

After this came the main performance of the evening. Avigail (violin) and Ammiel (piano) started their programme with Tartini’s Variations on a Theme by Corelli, which is a good showpiece for violin, but lacks the musical depth found in Mozart’s Sonata in G K.301, and Bruch’s Concerto no.1. The Mozart was beautifully played by both violinist and pianist, with nuances and delightful “conversation” between the two instruments. Perhaps Ammiel could have projected his sound more into the foreground occasionally – this is after all a duo Sonata. Nevertheless it was an immensely satisfying performance.

The choice of playing a concerto in a recital situation with piano instead of orchestra, rather than works originally written for this combination is debatable. These reservations aside, this rendition was no less than riveting. In this performance Avigail demonstrated all the technique, flair, and musicality required to succeed as the world-class violinist she is clearly destined to be. The finale was particularly exciting and its technical difficulties were made to look easy.

The second half was filled with shorter pieces of the romantic and modern periods. First were the interesting Sonato for solo violin written in 1999 by leading SA composer, Peter Klatzow. An exciting performance of the Ballade by 19th Century Belgian virtuoso and composer Eugene Ysaÿe followed, whereafter Avigail was joined by her brother Ammiel in a performance of Brahm’s Sonatensatz (Scherzo). This rendition was marred by timid piano playing which did not match the violinist’s energy.

A group of ‘potboiler’ virtuoso showpieces ended the recital, including works by Sarasate, Bartok and Bazzini. These pieces displayed every facet of the violinist’s technique and were enthusiastically received by the audience.

May I say that Avigail Bushakovitz is certainly on the brink of an international career? Watch this space! Well done, Friends of Music, for making her dreams become reality. - Andrew Warburton

Friends of Music gratefully acknowledges sponsorship from Non-Ferrous Metals and Quad Triangle with support funding from Business and Arts South Africa (BASA).




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